Years ago I went to a Ralph Hill clinic for beginning eventers. The morning (stadium/gymnastics) was challenging but my horse was absolute aces.
In the afternoon, we rode out to the first XC jump. We were to go to the marked spot, and let the horse canter *at its own pace without interfering* and we would be clocked for to find our horse's preferred pace. This took us past our jump, this incredibly straightforward, inviting, 2-foot tall "barn" jump on smoothly manicured, level ground with a pole groundline. Then we were to make a big u-turn and canter to the jump from the other direction (Towards the group to encourage "get-to-the-other-side" enthusiasmo.)
It was a warm sunny day, I was kitted out in my brand-new Tipperary with (Oh, yes) contrasting piping, matching my saddle pad, helmet cover AND my bell boots. Needless to say, between our morning of triumph and matching better than a whole flock of bridesmaids, I was feeling pretty badass. Holly picked up the canter and we sailed, easy and relaxed at what would turn out to be dead-on 350 mpm pace. Turned the corner to canter up to the jump. Simple change, natch. Why worry?
What I should have been thinking: my horse has never seen a cross country obstacle other than a log in the trail. Not a big deal, but sit up, leg on, and give a steady, confident ride.
What I was thinking: tralalalalalala
As I sat, totally passive in my happy-go-lucky 2-point, my horse was thinking: WHAT THE HECK IS THAT WELL HERE GOES NOTHING
She took off seven feet from the base of the jump. How do I know? An incredibly opportune snapshot records her just after takeoff with her knees snapped up to her chin and stretched forward like Gem Twist at the Olympics, determined not to touch that THING. I am hovering in the air above the saddle. I was jumped completely out of the tack, landed on my feet, executed what onlookers called a "textbook perfect judo roll" (never to be repeated) and lay flat on my back with the wind knocked dead out of me, consumed by my own idiocy. Ralph came to fetch me and before he got a chance to say anything I gasped "stupid STUPID that was MY fault. How could I just sit there? STUPID"
He, diplomatically, confined his remarks to, "mmmm, yeah, how bout we try again" and helped me up. I felt fine, albeit stupid like uranium is heavy, so I got back on, and did it again, this time doing that "riding" thing we hear so much about, and it was easy peasy.
We moved on to the next jump and my hips stared feeling... funny. Tingly with occasional sharp pains. I dismounted and within minutes it was clear I couldn't walk properly. They brought me back to the trailers in a truck, and my long-suffering boyfriend (now my delightful husband) took my horse. He had only ever handled basic school tack and hadn't a clue about running martingales and splint boots and fancy saddle pads with piping. Since I was now immbolized, I shouted instructions from my truck while he heroically struggled to conquer my XC bridle, sponged down my horse, gave her hay, AND put away all my things. (he would later help load the horses, UNLOAD all my things when we got home, give my horse her dinner, and turn her out. Then take me to the hospital and refuse to let them cut off my tall boots. Ladies, when you find one like that, you keep him, amirite?)
Anyway it turned out I had "jammed" my hips like you "jam" your thumb and I needed crutches and physical therapy for 6 weeks. Oh yeah, for the first two weeks I could only walk *backwards* on my crutches. And my office was at the end of a looooong hallway they went clear through my office building.
Well, it's been a month, so I thought I'd come and update on how I'm doing. (Plus, these stories are epic, and it doesn't hurt to bump this thread so others can be entertained by our pain). My Facebook status the other day sums it up: Being in a hurry saves a few minutes, but the effects of being STUPID last for months. Oof.
I'm healing, slowly. I've been free of crutches for two weeks, and manage to drive now (FREEDOM!) by taking off the walking boot/splint and driving in the same basic ankle brace I sleep in (with doctor's okay). Otherwise, it's just me and the walking boot, baby, for three more weeks (total of 6) before hopefully the splint comes off and the physical therapy starts. The ortho re-xrayed me last week, and again confirmed no sign of fractures. My official diagnoses is a deep bone bruise and a badly sprained ankle. Wheeeeeee.
My attitude has basically been, "Yes, Fate, yes sir, thank you sir, no complaints, sir" as it could have been much worse, and could be been SO much worse. In light of that, the inconvenience of the splint and the pain and such is accepted with gratitude.
It is weird seeing my leg shrink, though. Ew. My right calf is about a third smaller than my left now, and my left thigh is rock-hard buff now while the right one is all sad and flabby.
And you know what's cool? I'm getting to know my new boy in a more personal way than I would have had I not had the injury. Some times, hubby dutifully puts Tril's splint boots on him for me and puts him in turn out, and I just sit in the stands and watch him. And he is GOOFY. Seriously, GOOFY. He is curious, inquisitive, and playful. I've watched him knock over jump poles just to see if he could, try to drink from a water fountain on the other side of the rail, turn on a sprinkler, jump over a trail bridge, and fall when a horse being led next to his arena spooked at something, making him wheel about and spook and lose his footing in so doing (WTF, Tril?). Today was his first visit with my farrier, and he tested him rather like he did with me ("I don't wannnnnna hold my leg anymore. What if I try to lie down?"). The farrier (and I) quickly determined he's not sore, he's just seeing what he can get away with. When he realized the farrier wasn't letting him get his way, he acquiesced and turned to entertaining himself by sucking his tongue and chewing on his lead rope.
Gotta keep this boy BUSY! Sooooo, I brought him one of my homemade "CrackPops" to keep him entertained in his stall. It was a hit. The tongue kills me.
I was so excited to finally go shopping last weekend at the tack store--I had 3+ weeks of pent-up shopping for a new horse! Never has fly spray and feed been so fun to buy. Although I did splurge and buy cordless clippers (I don't like dealing with the cords because of where the nearest outlet is in light of where the hitching post is) and a new halter with the brass nameplate from his old, beat up halter transferred over. I heart him, I do.
My farrier shared his stupid story: He was working on a mare's hind feet when a fly kept bothering one of her front feet. Not thinking, he slapped the fly away--she spooked and gave him a nice black eye. Like me, he immediately sat down and kept thinking "STUPID! Why would I do that??" while he was gathering his bearings. Heh. Soooo, it happens to the best and most professional of us.
I realized that when I scheduled Tril's next appointment, I will be out of the boot and hopefully in the saddle. So, woot!
Now, how are all my sweet, stupid COTH friends doing?
As for stupid moves, not me, but a former barn owner always used to laugh at herself because the one time that she was seriously injured was not when she was working with a horse, but because she backed up and tripped over a salt block while cleaning a stall.
Does the fact that the mental image that popped up with this story made me howl give me a First Class ticket to Hell? Gah, I feel like such a bad human being ...
...he popped over it with much enthusiasm and ran that stick up my right nose hole. I bent back in mid air and when he landed I bent forward again. The stick went up my left nose hole and came out my cheek.
I wrote two books with story after story of how my brain isn't always engaged when there is a horse involved. I shall not recount all the stories here.
But, I can drop in one tidbit, that I don't think made it into either book. Probably the dumbest of the dumb, which did not result in any injury was the time I was planning to trailer my horse to a show.
Horse and trailer were off property. I drove my car from the house to the barn.
Leaving the truck - you know, the vehicle that can actually tow the trailer - back at the house.
Yay for your update Lauruffian!
Love your description of discovering Tril's "horseanality" <not the Pepperoni kind
One more Tale of Stupid (inspired by RR's last post):
I go horsecamping and arrive at the campground - 2h drive from home - with no girth.
Fortunately a friend was able to give me a loaner.
Got home 3 days later to find my girth hanging on the front gate to the pasture = last stop before loading tack & horse into trailer.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Love these stories!
Oh, I have one. (Well, don't we all? I like to hope everyone has done something incredibly stupid at some stage.)
Took youngster for a hack, as the arena was too wet to do any work in. He was a funny boy, and hacking alone was always extra 'interesting' as he saw ghosts in everything, especially when the weather was a bit cooler. Helmet was most definitely on for that reason!
He was actually super good that whole ride, and I was pleased with him. The gate into the property was one of those metal ones on rollers that are usually electric, with spikes on the top. But baby had been taught to side-on to it while I pulled it open and was always very good about it. But that day the lock was just slightly through the hole and it was jammed.
What I should have done: dismounted and removed the lock.
What I did instead (well, he had been such a good boy that whole day) was lean over and try free the lock. Which would have been just fine had my helmet chin-strap not hooked onto the spikes on top of the fence.
THEN baby freaked a little, jumped forward from under me, and I swung on the fence by my chinstrap. He went careering off outside the property, on the road. I go chasing after him, and he has run through the wire fence on the side of the property. Then he stopped, walked to me with a look on his face like "So what was all that about huh?".
There wasn't a scratch on him, and I just had a bruised hip from the gate. But I had bent the spike at the top, and the lock. After putting him to bed (checking over every inch of his legs) I just broke down after thinking how close my damned jugular had been to a 5 inch very sharp spike, and how he could have ripped his legs to pieces. LUCKY! STUPID!
Love the new stories! mayhew, he didn't so much step on my ankle as trip all over my right leg (ow). The most unforgivable stupid I did was squat low at his legs rather than bend at the waist. When he startled, I was knocked off balance and sent my legs under his. His legs won. (Detailed account is in the first post.)
Polydor, my CrackPops are just sweet feed, sugar, corn syrup, corn meal, and crushed peppermints. A few of my local friends really like them (I initially gave them as gifts), and one said her horses are obsessed with the Pops. She started calling them horsey crack, and so, there you go. Now she and a few others buy them from me--it's not a lot, but enough to spoil my horse a little without feeling like I'm taking away from my two-legged boys.
2DogsFarm, yes, he has quite the personality! He's so funny. My mare was sweet, but insecure. Presented with a trash can whose liner is flapping in the wind, she'd spook and hide on the other end of the arena. Tril spooks, then wheels around to see what IS that thing. Heh.
12 years old. Apparently invincible horse and I are (quite stupidly) jumping brand new round bales (not the humongous ones, like the 3'ish ones) that are randomly placed in a field, waiting to be picked up by the trailer. We are (very stupidly) by ourselves and 3 miles from home and I am (blazingly ignorantly, since we just didn't even think about wearing them in 1979) helmetless.
Jump, jump, over the round bale. This is fun!
Jump, jump, what a good horsie!
Jump, jump, we can take it from the flatside too!
Not so much. Oh so much easier from the round side. If you jump them from the flat end, they become one serious skinny oxer, which 12 year old logic did not consider until flying through space.
So we had a helmetless, airvest-less, EMT-less rotational fall and, thank you Universe, no lasting repercussions to rider or horse. I hacked home shaking and told no one.